Sunday, October 25, 2009

Childhood slips away fast.....

This weekend we celebrated the first birthday of our friends’ son. As the celebration went on, I reflected a bit. It didn’t seem too long ago that we celebrated similar occasions for our children. And “seem” is the keyword here. Our daughter is twenty and our son 14! So it has been a while but still doesn’t seem that long ago. Children grow up fast and sometimes precious moments are lost in the hustle and bustle of life.

In infancy and the early years, children follow their parents and look up to them. The kids are a step behind. That’s the stage when parents need to press the pause button frequently, in whatever they are doing in their lives, to turn around and cherish the little things that toddlers will do. Before you know it, children will be all grown and walking besides us. All we can do from there on is to try to keep up with them.

In the early childhood years, it’s important to enjoy our children. And the most important thing to remember—let them be children. Kids will do things that only kids will. They’ll yell, spill, scream, make a mess etc. etc. It’s futile to try to clean your house with a three-year-old running around. It’s like shoveling your driveway before it has stopped snowing! But there has to be a balance between what freedom a child is given and where to draw the line. But we always must realize that while we try to teach children all about life, they teach us what life is all about.

We worry about what our child will become tomorrow, yet we sometimes forget that he or she is someone today. In our society today, there is a tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are steadily expanded with lofty expectations, while those of adults are progressively constricted. And often this results in insecure children and childish adults! Well, that’s where parenting steps in. A child doesn’t come with a manual and bringing up children is a hands-on experience. That is the reason parenting is hectic and busy, but also rewarding.

“You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and stop telling you where they are going!!”


Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Good Times" are a blur!!

I am late by about 48 hours for this post. But there’s a reason for that. You see, on Saturday, the 17th day of October 2009, my family and I celebrated Diwali. As did most people who are originally from India. “Diwali”, also known as the festival of lights, is akin to Christmas, with religious and social significance. So there’s a lot of praying early on in the day. But as we all know, life is all about balance. So to balance the religious zeal early in the day, there’s a lot of partying and dancing starting in the evening and extending into the wee hours of the night. And that brings us to the reason why I am late in writing this post. The hangover from the Diwali party hung over me for 2 days!

We went to a few wonderful get-togethers and finally settled for the evening at our good friends house. There was music, singing, eating, drinking and dancing, and not necessarily in that particular order. During the time I was there, I was lucky to interact with people of different age groups. From a lovely 2-year old girl to a distinguished gentleman, well into his seventies. The eight (!) hours or so that I was there, I enjoyed every minute and time flew.

And that’s the topic conversation veered around that evening. The feeling that time goes by fast, and this year really went by quick! But we all know time moves at its own pace, we are the ones who don’t slow down. We all have our own time machines. Some take us back, and they are called memories. Some take us forward and they are called dreams. But wherever we are in life, its good to slow down a bit and enjoy the present time, and the company of people that we connect to.

Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And there are no rollover minutes in real life. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.

Time does seem to fly when we are having a good time. But we have a different perspective on time when the going is tough. For example, take the example of our basic unit in time—a minute.

How much is a minute? We all know its sixty seconds. But how long is a minute?

Now that depends on which side of the bathroom door you are on!!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Investing in "Hope"......

I generally don’t write about politics and related topics, but I couldn’t resist this one. So bear with me……

I think we were all surprised when President Obama was conferred the Nobel peace prize. As per the White House spokesman, the President was surprised himself. There are varied opinions on this award. He doesn’t deserve it, he deserves it, he shouldn’t accept the award etc.

We are all entitled to our opinion. I personally believe that Mr. Obama didn’t deserve the award at this time. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan and a supporter of our President. But I am not infatuated with him. Maybe the award would have been justified in the years to come. But a fact I hope everybody realizes is that the controversy about this award should surround the Nobel Peace prize committee that gave out this award, and not President Obama.

So far the philosophy of the Nobel award committee has been to focus on achievements. Not on what they hope the awardee will achieve. But in this instance they changed their perspective. They invested in hope. Hope that the President, with his tremendous popularity around the world, can swing the mood around the world towards optimism.

Now is that a bad thing? To invest in hope through one of the most popular public figures ever? Hope is not a conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out. It is the anchor of the soul, the stimulus for action, and the incentive to achievement. Hope looks for good in people instead of harping on their fallacies; it discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot.

"Hope is what led me here today -- with a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas; and a story that could only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have courage to remake the world as it should be." ~ Barack Obama in Jan 08


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Coffee is coffee, isn't it?.......Or is it?

Well, at Starbucks, it just isn't simply coffee. It's Cafe Latte!

A few days ago, my wife and I went to Starbucks. I don't go to Starbucks much, but whenever I do, I am a little nervous when I order. I'm never sure of what size of the cup I'm going to get. They have their own Starbucks lingo about sizes. 'Tall' actually means small, 'grande' means medium and where the heck did they get 'venti' from? So what do they call their restrooms, as Dave Barry once asked--- 'aquaswooshies'?

You buy coffee in a regular coffee shop, it's 60 cents. But at Starbucks, Cafe Latte: $3.50. Cafe Cremier: $4.50. Cafe Suisse: $6.50. For each French word, another few dollars. Why does a little cream in coffee make it worth $3.50? Go into any coffee shop; they'll give you all the cream you want until you're blue in the face. And it's still 60 cents. You know why? Because it's called "Coffee." If it's Cafe latte, it's $3.50.

You want cinnamon in your coffee? Ask for cinnamon in a coffee shop; they'll give you all the cinnamon you want. It's still the same price-- 60 cents, that's it. But not in Starbucks. Over there, it's Cinnamonnier - and costs something like $6.50.

Now reading this, you all are probably wondering--"What does this guy have against Starbucks?" I have nothing against Starbucks at all. I'm just surprised how busy the stores are. I sometimes wonder if it's the brand name people are after or the taste? Do you feel special if you have a Starbucks coffee cup in your hand versus a cup from one of the run-of-the-mill coffee shops? Or is it just brand-consciousness that has percolated to our coffee cups too.

I was discussing this the other night with a bunch of friends. And one of them suggested that this was something in our culture. We feel good when we relate to a popular name. We feel even better when we own or use something that is considered elite. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. If we feel good about ourselves or our life by spending a few extra bucks, isn't it worth spending those few extra dollars? I think it is. Either way, I need my coffee in the morning to really wake up, as do a lot of you.

If we don't get our morning kick with caffeine, whether it be tea or coffee, a lot of us will suffer from A.D.D. -- "ALERTNESS DEFICIT DISORDER"!!